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Welcome to FairylandQueer Miami before 1940$
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Julio Capó

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635200

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635200.001.0001

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Queers during and after Prohibition

Queers during and after Prohibition

(p.232) 7 Queers during and after Prohibition
Welcome to Fairyland

Julio Capó Jr.

University of North Carolina Press

Despite the visibility of a commoditized heterosexuality in the fairyland traced in the previous chapter, transnational and local forces further allowed queer folk to carve out spaces for themselves in Miami. By the 1920s, U.S. imperialism ensured that racialized sex tourism in Cuba and the Bahamas—particularly the former—became central to Miami’s own economic success. This chapter reveals two key phenomena in the development of queer cultures and networks: Miami’s entrenched relationship to the Caribbean during Prohibition, and the uneasy urban battles that ensued upon Prohibition’s repeal. Additional transnational tensions—including the rise of the aviation industry, Miami’s real estate bust and devastating hurricane, and the 1933 Cuban Revolution—nudged Miami toward becoming a “wide-open” city. This status allowed queers to carve out distinct spaces in the city, particularly during peak tourist season. Indeed, queers made the tourist economy work, staffing the service industry and functioning as physical representations of the fantasy and transgression urban boosters marketed, keenly designed as alternatives or supplements to what the Caribbean offered.

Keywords:   Miami and Miami Beach, Bahamas, Cuba and Havana, Prohibition, Tourism, Cuban Revolution of 1933, Al Capone, Pari-mutuel gambling, Moralists, Ku Klux Klan raid of La Paloma, Jewel Box Revue

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